Samantha Nass, owner of Samantha Nass Floral Design, pivoted her business this year and opened a new retail shop in downtown Saratoga Springs.
The florist’s business was previously housed in an appointment-only studio rather than a retail shop and was focused on weddings and other events. Nass said she never pictured having a retail store, but she missed that personal connection with the customer during the pandemic.
She opened the new shop, which offers arrangements, plants, vases, candles, gift boxes and more, at 61 Lawrence Street at the end of January.
“This building had a space for retail to be an option, great natural light and a five minute walk from the shopping area,” Nass said. “Part of the expectation for looking at this building was the pandemic. We wanted to connect more with our town and have that customer relationship that we lost during the two years of Zoom calls and virtual meetings. I’m really enjoying owning a retail shop.”
The shop is designed in a way that complements the European romantic design of her floral arrangements. But it’s still a shift to go from mostly arranging for events to running a store.
“This will be our first Valentine’s Day. I say this is a test kitchen right now — I’m curious to see where this leads and excited and maybe a little terrified as well,” Nass said. “In our weddings business, we’ve gained some great loyal clients, but now that we’ve opened our doors to everybody, I don’t know how this is going to go.”
She said the toughest part of the transition will be getting the clients to think of Samantha Nass Floral Design as a retail florist, where someone can stop by and pick up a bouquet.
“For years whenever we would get an inquiry on the phone or people stopping by, because we were a studio geared for events, we would turn away the business if we didn’t have the product. It was the limitation, we weren’t expecting for people to stop by,” Nass said. “It’s trying to rewire people’s expectations … that will be the biggest hurdle.”
Nass said she’s planning to take on fewer wedding clients this year too as she focuses on building up the store, particularly during the Saratoga track season. Nass had seen a shift during the pandemic anyway, toward more meaningful events instead of quantity of guests. Even though the events are smaller, she said clients are still spending a good amount of money on décor.
“This year is looking like a great year again, but because of the business and expanding the retail space, we’re limiting the amount of wedding bookings we’re taking onto this year as we embed the business model so that we better understand what the change will do for the business,” Nass said. “I feel people are excited again about restrictions being lifted and being able to get married. We get a different vibe with our clients booking with us.”
Nass plans to start hosting classes on floral arrangement, terrariums and more in the shop this spring. Hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.